When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.
Summer offers the best and driest weather in July and August. However, bad weather can still occur. Always check the forecast, bring rain gear and dress in layers to be prepared for every kind of weather. If you want to avoid the most snow, don’t go before June. In May even places like Paradise are still covered with snow. In most years the area is usually snow-free from about mid-July through late September.
Avoiding the Crowds
July and August are also the peak tourist months. Paradise and Sunrise will be quite crowded. Visit in September: After the first Labor Day weekend (early September) tourist crowds dissipate. However there are 3 simple ways dodge the crowds and get a parking lot even during peak season in the summer:
- Be there early in the morning. Preferably before 9 AM.
- Alternatively, you could arrive late, between 5 PM and 6 PM. Most visitors have left the park at 6 PM. You'd avoid most crowds and enjoy one of the fascinating Day Hikes / Shorter Hikes.
- Try to avoid weekends and visit mid-week if possible.
Sweet Spot Months
Sweet spot months with fewer crowds and a high chance of good weather are JUNE and SEPTEMBER (immediately after Labor Day crowds disappear). In September it’s even snow free, and the visitor centers and all its facilities are usually open until the end of September. But still, try to avoid weekends in September if possible or start early in the morning.
Gros Morne is beautiful year round but is best visited between late May and Mid October. The temperatures are pleasant and whales can be spotted (in July/August) as well as some icebergs (in June).
It’s unpredictable and often changes very dynamically. Also prepare yourself for hikes to higher elevations, as it is much cooler there.
May - October (warmer months): Temperatures become pleasant in May: 5-11°C (41-52°F). However, many hiking trails remain partly snow covered throughout May. Also hiking/climbing Gros Morne Mountain summit is not permitted until the beginning of July. In June it gets warmer: 5ºC- 20ºC (40-70ºF). The months of July and August bring the warmest and driest conditions: Average daytime temperature 16–25 °C (61–77°F). September and October temperatures are still pleasant. In October they drop to 5-10°C (41-50°F).
November - April (cooler months): Especially January, February and March are the best months for winter/snow activities. In years of higher snowfall, skiing is even possible into late April. Temperatures range from −10-0°C / 14-32°F.
The warmest months of July and August are also the peak tourist months. However, even during high season it’s never heavily crowded in Gros Morne National Park. The only limitations are the tight accommodations in July/August. Book early if you plan to visit in summer.
Highlights (Icebergs, Whale Watching):
A few icebergs can be seen from May until early July. Visit from mid-May until late June to be on the safe side (Iceberg Facts). However, the much better spots to view them are along the east cost. They are traveling from the north (St. Anthony) to the south, passing Twillingate, then Bonavista. The best months for whale watching are July and August, as they follow their food sources. You will increase your chances off seeing whales by taking a boat tour in Gros Morne NP. In some areas you can still see them in September. Also wildflowers bloom during most of the summer.
The Tab Kak Hang Nak hiking trail becomes more popular, but due to the remote location, it's still not overrun up to hundred hikers per day. Start hiking in the morning to avoid the heat at midday. At this time of the day, only a few people are along the trail and on the top. The trail is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you would like to watch the sunrise or sunset you have to contact one of the ranger/officers otherwise you may get a fine of 1000 Baht.
The beginning of the hike
The dry season lasts from December to late April. Anyway, showers can also occur in the dry season and especially in the rainforest. The hottest months are March and April with temps around 34°C and higher. Due to the high humidity hiking and breathing are more strenuous. The rainy season starts around late April and persists until the end of November.
It’s worth visiting regardless of the season of the year. Summer months (May through September) is the park’s tourist season with pleasant weather perfect for a day’s exploration. Though spring (April) and fall (October) have lesser crowds yet the best time to enjoy serene vacation experience. Winter (November) offers plenty of snowfall and amazing winter activities.
Sitting at a relatively high elevation of 8,000 to 9,000 feet, Bryce Canyon National Park is colder than any national park in Utah including Zion, Canyonlands and Arches. Summer temperature is pleasant and mild with little fluctuations. Night time in spring and fall are chilly but winter is the coldest with plenty of snowfall. Remember to pack your warm clothes when planning your trip to Bryce Canyon National Park anytime of the year. Monthly average maximum temperatures:
More details: Bryce Canyon Climate
Spring (March – May): Weather during spring transition from cold to mildly warm. Nonetheless, visitors still need a jacket as it can be relatively cool. This is the time to see snow melt from the higher elevation mountains surrounding this spectacular park.
Summer (June – August): Experience pleasant days and cool nights during summer. The best weather is in July, the warmest month. Rainfall during mid to late summer comes as afternoon thundershowers. These are also the peak tourist months with heavy crowds.
Fall (September – October): Especially September is a great month with pleasant temperatures, blue sky, clear and crisp air. However, weather can be unpredictable and fall nights can be relatively chilly. It is possible to experience some snowfall in October.
Winter (November – February): Winter is the coldest time to visit Bryce Canyon. One will experience lots of snow between January and February, making it ideal time to enjoy snow activities such as skiing and sledging. Much of the area experience snowstorm from October through April. The coldest month is December. Few facilities and amenities will either remain closed or reduce their operating hours.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
The park is attracting over 1.5 million people annually. Summertime is the peak tourist season. Quieter times are winter, early spring and late fall. In September, the crowds start to thin out at least a little after Labor Day (first Monday in September). June, July and August bring the heaviest crowds. In May it already starts to get busy, especially on weekends. To avoid the crowds, start your day’s exploration early and go mid-week if possible. Finding the perfect parking space can sometimes be challenging especially at the view points along the scenic drive. However, you can find a nice parking spot just few kilometers away from the more packed ones. Hiking enthusiasts should also start very early as most hiking trails will be packed later. The family friendly and moderate trails are packed in high season: Rim Trail, Queens Garden Loop, Navajo Loop, … You can find solitude, even in peak season, on the more strenuous day hikes like Fairyland Loop and Peekaboo Loop. Especially if you start early. Hiking Trails Overview
Opening Hours and Shuttles
The park is open 24 hours throughout the year. The Visitor center is modern, with everything you need. No restaurant though. Visitor Center Operating Hours
Shuttle service for the Bryce Canyon stops in late October and resumes with the start of spring. Detailed schedule: Bryce Canyon Park Shuttle
The best month for the magnificent view of the rice fields is definitely September: The rice fields are still green with patches of golden color. A truly magical view and one of the best times for photographers.
March - May (Spring)
A good time to visit Sa Pa: Dry season, pleasant weather, warm. Excellent for trekking. It’s still low season without masses of domestic tourists. In April/May you can experience blooming flowers but not the amazing lush green (and later in fall yellow tinted) rice fields. The rice fields start to show their real beauty later in June. However, this is a great time to explore the area and to get in touch with the locals / different ethnic minorities.
June - August (Summer)
Not recommended. Rainy season with the heaviest rainfall occurring in July and August. It’s hot and humid. However, the rice fields appear in an amazing green color. It’s also very busy as it’s peak tourist season for domestic visitors.
September - November (Fall)
Perfect time! September can still be rainy but often short and not as much as in summer. Otherwise the temperatures are pleasant and great for hiking: Sept./Oct average temp.: 17°C / 63°F. During these months the weather is perfect for sightseeing: Clear blue skies with the sun shining through the huge mountains resulting in outstanding views of the vibrant landscape. In September harvesting of the rice fields begins. Early October the most rice is usually already harvested, taking away the impressive September rice terrace view. In November it gets colder and the rice is significantly ‘reduced’ but it’s still a great month for outdoor activities.
December - February (Winter)
Cold, freezing and foggy especially in December and January. It can get bitterly cold (5°C / 40°F) and the views are often limited to 20 - 30 metres due to fog. However, if you don’t mind the coldness there are magic moments in the winter: When the fog clears it can become quite surreal and magical at the same time. Some of the best photos are taken during this season.
Acadia National Park is best visited between late spring and fall. However, there are exceptions! Read our complete overview for every season, the best walks (great if you only stay one day / 24h) and hikes, as well as insider tips on how to avoid the crowds during peak season. You may also jump directly to our '7 Must-Know Fall Color Tips'.
May - June (Spring)
Both months bring warmer and drier conditions. However, in May the trees aren't green yet and it might be too cold for water activities. Temperatures: Up to 51-75°F / 11-22°C in June. It’s pleasant weather for hiking and other outdoor activities. The downside is, depending on how rainy it has been before, there are biting bugs from mid-May until mid-June. Many facilities are open and May is still a quiet month, except for Memorial Day Weekend (end of May). In June it gets already busier but not as crowded as in July and August.
July - August (Summer)
Warm, most pleasant temperatures. Peak season. It gets very busy, even more in August. Booked accommodations, waiting lines, crowded parking lots, congested Park Loop Road and busy view points. To avoid the crowds during peak season, get to the park early in the morning or in the late afternoon around dinner time. More tips on how to avoid the crowds can be found below.
September - October (Autumn / Fall Colors)
Early September after Labor Day until mid-September is a nice time to visit the park: The weather is pleasant (49-68°F / 9-20°C), it's not super quiet, but the heavy summer crowds are gone and the 'leaf peeping' crowds haven't arrived yet. It gets very busy again from late September until mid-October as thousands want to see the leaf color explosion in fall. The best time to experience the amazing colors is usually mid-October. Tip: Read our '7 Must-Know Fall Color Tips' below in the main text. Book ahead of time if you need accommodation during the ‘leaf peeping’ weeks. After Columbus Day in mid-October crowds dissipate and rates drop. This is another sweet spot time without the heavy crowds. The last week of October ist often still ok for watching the fall colors, but it also gets cold and rainy.
November (Late Autumn)
Even in early November, it's usually too late for spotting the beautiful fall colors. Temperatures drop (33-48°F / 1-9°C ), try to visit until mid-November. It’s colder, but still worth to visit the park without the crowds, almost in solitude. Many facilities are closed though. Definitely, drive the Loop Road which is usually still open in November.
December - March (Winter)
It’s off season and very cold. Average temperature in January: 14-32 °F / 0-(-)10 °C . Time for snowmobiling and skiing. Most hotels, restaurants, campsites and attractions are closed. The scenic Park Loop Road is also closed from December until mid-April (weather dependant). More winter activity info: NPS Acadia Winter Activities
April (Early Spring)
Many visitors would say that April ist is still not pleasant with melting snow and muddy ground. Average temperatures are between 25-41° F / 1-11° C. However, we'd definitely recommend this month. You might be wondering why? First of all, from mid-April the scenic Park Loop Road usually opens. Second, it's still quiet without any heavy crowds of other tourist. You'll have no issues with parking and can enjoy some places almost in solitude. While there are still signs of winter, the scenery is just breathtaking. Some say the views are even more amazing with no leaves on the trees. Bottom line: We think a visit between mid and late April is a great time!
Regardless of monthly temperatures we described above, you should know that in Maine the weather can change dramatically during the year. However, temperatures along the coast in Acadia N.P. are moderated by the ocean. In the graph below you'll find the average monthly highs. Least rainfall is in June, July and August. But still, keep in mind that the weather is often unpredictable and can change instantly. Be prepared for rain at any time.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
It gets crowded in Acadia National Park in summer and fall. A sweet spot time without the heavy crowds but mostly pleasant temperatures used to be those two weeks in September (after Labor Day until mid-September). However, it's not that quiet anymore during this time, especially in the recent years as visitation increased. Otherwise, there are two different sweet spots weeks with mostly pleasant weather and few visitors: A) The weeks after Columbus Day (mid-October) until early November. B) Early June until mid-June: Although it's already busy at places like Bar Harbor, visitors report that most hiking trails in the park are not crowded.
Anyway, if you plan to visit during the busy summer and leaf peeping time in fall, we have three great tips to avoid crowds:
1. Be Early or Late:
The majority of people tend to visit Acadia from mid-morning to afternoon. Get up early and try to be at the most visited spots or trailheads before 9:00 AM. Usually, the crowds start to arrive around 10:00 AM. Incredibly popular spots like the summit of Cadillac Mountain can be crowded earlier. Be there at 8:00 A.M. and you'll dodge the heavy crowds at the top. Another advantage to visiting early is the great light for photos and the higher chance of spotting wildlife. Check out this great Ranger Early Bird Video. Alternatively, visit the favorite spots later around dinner time or head out on a short trail just before sunset. Just after 5 P.M. is a perfect time since most are heading back for dinner around that time. However, make sure to be back when there is still daylight. It's too dangerous to hike in the dark.
2. Visit Quieter Areas:
Head to the less traveled places and trails. On the 'quiet side' of Mount Desert Island west of Somes Sound, try out Acadia Mountain Loop or the Beech Cliff Trail (see below in the hiking section). Or you could head to Schoodic Peninsula (Google Maps) on the mainland, or the quietest side of Isle au Haut, accessible only by mail boat.
3. Use the Shuttle:
If you are visiting between late June and Columbus day, use the free Island Explorer Shuttle. It takes away all the worries of full parking lots at trailheads and congested parking areas at popular places like Cadillac Mountain or Bar Harbor. There are bus stops at all well-known places. They even added one for the trailhead of Caddilac North Ridge Trail (see below in the hiking section). Additionaly, you can always ask the bus driver to let you off, even if it’s not an official stop.